Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Much ado about nothing. Except maybe now most of Congress is exposed for being political hacks--again.

This business about "6 major US ports being taken over by the Dubai, UAE" is, as the Wall Street Journal puts it, "alarmist nonsense."
The timing of this sudden uproar is also a tad suspicious. A bidding war for the British-owned P&O has been going on since last autumn, and the P&O board accepted Dubai's latest offer last month. The story only blew up last week, as a Florida firm that is a partner with P&O in Miami, Continental Stevedoring and Terminals Inc., filed a suit to block the purchase. Miami's mayor also sent a letter of protest to Mr. Bush. It wouldn't be the first time if certain politicians were acting here on behalf of private American commercial interests.

Critics also forget, or conveniently ignore, that the UAE government has been among the most helpful Arab countries in the war on terror. It was one of the first countries to join the U.S. container security initiative, which seeks to inspect cargo in foreign ports. The UAE has assisted in training security forces in Iraq, and at home it has worked hard to stem terrorist financing and WMD proliferation. UAE leaders are as much an al Qaeda target as Tony Blair.

. . .[snip]

As for the Democrats, we suppose this is a two-fer: They have a rare opportunity to get to the right of the GOP on national security, and they can play to their union, anti-foreign investment base as well. At a news conference in front of New York harbor, Senator Chuck Schumer said allowing the Arab company to manage ports "is a homeland security accident waiting to happen." Hillary Clinton is also along for this political ride.

So the same Democrats who lecture that the war on terror is really a battle for "hearts and minds" now apparently favor bald discrimination against even friendly Arabs investing in the U.S.? Guantanamo must be closed because it's terrible PR, wiretapping al Qaeda in the U.S. is illegal, and the U.S. needs to withdraw from Iraq, but these Democratic superhawks simply will not allow Arabs to be put in charge of American longshoremen. That's all sure to play well on al Jazeera.
Politically tone-deaf on the part of the administration? Possibly. But the overwrought concerns about terrorists from UAE being able to bring in hoards of terrorists on container ships with nuclear bombs? Moronic, unless you believe the hype. The fact is that most of our ports are "foreign owned," meaning companies from other countries lease the waterfront space (apparently 90% of west coast ports are held in such a fashion--listen to that report).

So chill out.

Via Instapundit

UPDATE: a smart guy at NRO agrees.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

We'll just shoot him. Bang. Dead. Done.

It's not often that legal opinions direct us to the authority of Austin Powers. Read the text down to footnote 1, and then scroll down to the footnote. Excellent.

Via Legal Affairs.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

There is no but.

Excellent article on the current state of affairs in Europe, and all the hand-wringing and cringing and bowing and scraping being done to appease the "Muslim world."
Of course, we don't yet know what this delegation to the Middle East will be saying, but comments made in an interview with the London Daily Telegraph by the EU's sinisterly named Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice reveal some clues. Saying that millions of Muslims felt "humiliated" by the cartoons, and referring to a supposed "real problem" faced by the EU in reconciling freedom of expression with freedom of religion (actually, there's no "problem" at all, unless fanatics choose to make one), he suggested that the press should adopt a voluntary code of conduct. By agreeing to this "the press will give the Muslim world the message: we are aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression, we can and we are ready to self-regulate that right." Why the "Muslim world" outside Europe, much of which is represented by dictatorships, mullah-states and kleptocracies, should have any say in the contents of the continent's supposedly free press was not discussed.

. . .

The president of the EU's "parliament," and thus a man supposedly dedicated to the freedom of debate, could bring himself to defend free expression only "within the boundaries of respect for the religious beliefs and cultural sensitivities of others." Javier Solana meanwhile, paved the way for his trip by telling Al-Arabiya television that "respect does not stop at countries' borders and it includes all religions and specifically what concerns us here, our respect for the Islamic religion." As so often in the last week, the idea that "respect," if it is to mean anything other than capitulation, has to flow both ways, seems not to have merited a mention.
Read the whole thing.

The overall point, of course, is that fringe crazies who demand "respect" for their feelings of "hurt and offense" should not be permitted to control the perfectly lawful conduct of the free press, and the rest of us who speak out (be it ever so inartfully) shouldn't have to kowtow to loons who threaten us not with argument, but with violence. I am uncertain why western nations, with traditions of freedom of the press and expression that are, in fact, not just quaint old traditions but actual laws, tolerate this kind of outright intimidation. Apologizing for the freedoms we have earned through the years is a sure-fire way to encourage those radicals whose goal is to subject all of us infidel either to Islam or the sword. Worrying about "humiliating" people who use every slight as a reason to riot or threaten is insane. We should be shouting from the rooftops about how, in free societies like America, we can publish offensive political cartoons and there is not violence, but a debate on the merits. The "muslim world," whatever the hell it may be, appears not to want to debate the merits of anything, but carp about our giving offense and humiliating the muslim world. Well, if you don't want to be humiliated, stop burning down embassies after being whipped into a frenzy by a couple of cartoons. Cartoons!!!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Once again, the headline says it all.

Woman Carrying Human Head Arrested in Fla. "It still had teeth, hair and bits of skin and lots of dirt," Gonzalez said.

Burning flags can be bad for you.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The battle over the cartoons continues . . .

And Claudia Rosett has her finger on the pulse:
But all this might be chalked up as merely a sort of jarring cultural or religious misunderstanding, needing mainly a big dose of the patience, tolerance, and dialogue so many world statesmen have been urging — were it not for the violence, and the credible threats of violence. Palestinian gunmen have stormed the European Union offices in Gaza and threatened to kidnap Scandinavians and Germans. Mobs have attacked and torched the Danish embassies in Beirut, Damascus, and Tehran, with assaults for good measure on the embassies of Norway. The Danish cartoonist, his newspaper, and others who have published the cartoons have been getting bomb threats and death threats. Iran’s Holocaust contest is no joke not simply because it is sick — which it is — but because it is accompanied by Iran’s building of nuclear bombs, teaching and funding of terror, and officially announced plans to annihilate Israel.
Read it all.

And check out Jonah Goldberg's latest:
The quotation marks around the word "religious" should say it all. We're not talking about "religion." We're talking about a specific religion — Islam. Does anyone truly think that the burning of Danish embassies and calls for the "slaughter" of those responsible by Muslim protestors have really taught the BBC or the New York Times to be more polite to evangelical Christians or Orthodox Jews? Does anyone really think that Arabic newspapers — often state-owned — are going to stop recycling Nazi-era images of Jews as baby killers and hook-nosed conspirators because they've become enlightened to the notion that words can hurt? Considering that an Iranian newspaper just announced a contest for the best Holocaust cartoon, the odds seem slim. Besides, why belittle the Holocaust in response to something a Danish newspaper did? (Partial credit given for the answer: "It's always useful to pick on the Jews.")
. . .
But the issue of "offense" is a distraction too. Let's assume that the publication of the cartoons was motivated entirely by a desire to offend Muslims — or at least some Muslims. How does that change the way we should view events now? If I needlessly offend my neighbor, shame on me. If, in response, he burns down my house and threatens to murder my entire family, who cares what I said in the first place?
(Sorry for two out of NRO, but I am a lazy blogger)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Freedom for me, but not for thee! And I will burn your embassy when thou giv'st offense.

Read this. And check out the links here.

UPDATE: Check out what a Syrian blogger has to say, and he says it with lots of interesting links. I hope he keeps this up.

I swear, this is out of control. The "Muslim world" demands we respect it, take it seriously, etc. etc. -- how can you take folks seriously who riot and burn the Danish embassy in Damascus, just because a Danish newspaper prints editorial cartoons that the "Muslim world" deems blasphemous? And check these pictures out. More all over the blogosphere--just find a good post and start clicking the links. And you have to like this response to an Australian imam:
Odd that this concern over maintaining the peace doesn’t limit Muslim commentary on other religions or communities. The Islamic Bookstore in Lakemba, for example, sells vicious anti-Semitic tract The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as well as various anti-Christian titles (Crucifixion – or Cruci-FICTION?). Sheik Khalid Yasin, a regular guest lecturer in Australia, declared that “there’s no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend” and denounced modern clothes as the work of “faggots, homosexuals and lesbians”; Christians, he said, deliberately infected Africans with AIDS. Yasin wouldn’t merely draw cartoons of homosexuals—he’d have them put to death in accordance with Koranic law. One Imam told Australian students that Jews put poison in bananas. Local Iraqis voting in their country’s elections were shot at and otherwise intimidated by Islamic extremists whose banners announced: “You vote, you die.” These friends of free speech were also observed photographing those who dared to vote. Sheikh Feiz Muhammad told a supportive Bankstown crowd last year that women deserve to be raped if they wore “satanical” garments, including anything “strapless, backless, [or] sleeveless”, and also “mini-skirts [and] tight jeans.”

All of this is far more hateful and moronic than those twelve Danish cartoons, not one of which depicts the Prophet eating babies, poisoning fruit, or infecting Africans with AIDS. Far from being against hate-speech, many Muslim spokesmen seem to be aggressively for it; until, of course, someone contemplates publishing harmless drawings of some old beardy guy. At that point Sheik Fehmi El-Imam warns that we risk “disturbing the peace”.

Warning politely declined, Sheik:
Mark Steyn:
Jyllands-Posten wasn't being offensive for the sake of it. They had a serious point -- or, at any rate, a more serious one than Britney Spears or Terence McNally. The cartoons accompanied a piece about the dangers of "self-censorship" -- i.e., a climate in which there's no explicit law forbidding you from addressing the more, er, lively aspects of Islam but nonetheless everyone feels it's better not to.

That's the question the Danish newspaper was testing: the weakness of free societies in the face of intimidation by militant Islam.

UPDATE: Here's more from the Post:
The unrest in Lebanon, mired in its own political uncertainty, was the latest turn in a controversy that has spread worldwide following the publication of the cartoons in Denmark and other Western countries and showed no signs of ebbing Sunday. Demonstrators took to the streets in Afghanistan, Iraq, the West Bank and New Zealand. A day earlier, protesters burned the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Syria after charging past security barriers.

The Islamic Army in Iraq, a Sunni Arab insurgent group, issued an Internet statement calling for attacks on Danish companies and nationals. The group urged followers to "catch some Danish people and cut them into pieces." There are about 500 Danish soldiers in Iraq.
This is crazy crazy crazy. Insane. But there appears to be a more moderate reaction in Turkey. Read that one, and breath ever so slightly easier.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

eBay -- good times, good times.

Excellent. I wonder how much the bids would be on a married couple from Charlottesville. We're very friendly!

No s@#!, Sherlock.

A perfectly good, sane, and well written editorial (from my alma mater's daily), ruined by the world's stupidest headline (that I have seen today): Hamas' public anti-Semitism worrisome. Really? I thought all those calls for pushing the Jews into the sea were diplomacy!

Joint chiefs point out the obvious to the Washington Post

Via Ace of Spades, we find a truly tasteless editorial cartoon, and the response of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces. Well said.

Toads, all of them.

I voted for Clinton. I briefly considered voting for Gore. Now, we learn facts that show that both are dishonest little toads. But we knew that already, didn't we? the senior adviser to two investment funds managing public pension funds, Bill Clinton has himself promoted an investment fund that promises to put money into "lower-income urban and rural communities" — but instead devotes its cash to Al Gore's upstart cable channel and his wife's financial supporters.